With Sonny Perdue nominated, an ethanol argument jumps up

With Donald Trump’s term as president set to begin within hours, and an audience of millions already in front of their TV sets, those pushing future agenda items have already begun the inside-the-swamp campaigning.logo-all

On behalf of the U.S. senator from Alabama, we have the group Confirm [Jeff] Sessions for Attorney General lobbing a video that touts his credentials. (Only two of Trump’s Cabinet positions, both dealing with national security, will have been confirmed by noon.)

But a more interesting ad is now running on behalf of Fuels America. The group is specifically holding President Trump to his (remember Iowa?) promise to retain ethanol fuel subsidies for growers of corn in the Midwest. Watch it here:

“We are going to protect the renewable fuel standard,” the ad prominently quotes Trump as saying during his campaign.

Why is this ad important? Because on Thursday, Trump formally decided on former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as his secretary of agriculture. Perdue will be the first Southerner in that spot since Mississippian Mike Espy during the Clinton administration.

Generally speaking, Southern farmers aren’t big fans of subsidies intended to keep corn prices high. It raises the cost of feeding poultry, hogs and other livestock. Georgia, as you know, is Chicken Central in the South.

So, even before Perdue goes before his first panel of U.S. senators, you have that issue cooking.

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Speaking of farm matters: Arnold Schwarzenegger is worked up that Donald Trump picked Sonny Perdue over a fellow Californian for his final Cabinet slot.

The ex-Californian governor vented Thursday that Trump should have picked former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado instead of Perdue for agriculture secretary.

“Obviously, the choice wasn’t based on substance, because if it was based on substance, Abel would have gotten the job hands down,” Schwarzenegger told Politico through a spokesman. “He knows agriculture at every level and he’s built an incredible agriculture business from the ground up as well as being a fantastic public servant.”

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Even with a Trump presidency set to begin, this is the lede in today’s AJC that compels:

E.R. Mitchell Jr., a prominent construction contractor accused this week of paying bribes for City of Atlanta contracts, was already talking to the FBI in September 2015. Somebody knew about it and wanted him to keep quiet.

Before sunrise, a brick smashed through Mitchell’s window and landed on his living room floor. There was writing on it: “ER, keep your mouth shut!!! Shut up.”

Outside, he found an even more ominous message. Two dead rats lay on his doorstep. Another was left on the hood of his truck.

The incident 16 months ago at Mitchell’s Southwest Atlanta home sheds light on the hidden drama of an explosive corruption case now gripping City Hall.

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Timing is everything. Just after midnight on Friday – the day Donald Trump will be inaugurated –  House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and her party’s caucus launched a new website aimed at mobilizing Democrats.

It’s URL: GeorgiaResists.com.

It seems a harbinger of what’s to come in the Donald Trump era. The website includes details about how to push back against Trump’s Cabinet picks and healthcare plans. There are action alerts, lobbying tips and recruiting details. And there are training sessions for ground-level volunteers.

“Forty-two percent of Americans stayed home because they did not see themselves as affected by the 2016 election,” Abrams said. “It is time to ensure that potential voters see a better future if they engage with their leaders and hold them accountable.”

Read more AJC inauguration coverage:

Inauguration Day: Donald Trump to promise fast start for a divided nation

Why Jimmy Carter will attend Donald Trump’s inauguration

Led by John Lewis, at least 65 House Democrats boycott inauguration

What to expect from Donald Trump on his first day in office

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